Atmosphere brings distortion but also life

image, SDO, lunar transit  NASA

‘Images of the eclipse show a crisp lunar horizon, because the moon has no atmosphere that would distort light.’

Atmosphere brings distortion but it also brings life. The moon may pose beautifully for photos but you wouldn’t want to live there.

So often the very things that bring potential for distortion or confusion or chaos or loss also carry along the things we value most, even life itself.

Passionate faith may lead to a life of unparralled service or unmitigated violence.

The ocean meeting land offers the pleasure of being carried along in majesty but sometimes being crushed and killed.

Love soars in our hearts and makes us feel invincible but can leave us stripped bare and dangerously vulnerable.

We can live to avoid all these paradoxes and be free of distortion – like a crisp lunar landscape black against a raging sun. Many seek to live this way and risk the greatest distortion of all.

Or we can dare a life of atmosphere and its light distorting quality and find strength and insight from a greater light that gives courage and truth enough to live and love well.

Perhaps when we look at one another and our atmosphere-cloaked world we should set aside sharp dividing lines and take greater pleasure in the wildness of us all.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO – the photo was taken by NASA’S Solar Dynamics Observatory on July 26, 2014.

More details here.

Postscript: I am particularly mindful of many people of all persuasions seeking to draw and redraw crisp, clear lines on our planet in places like Ukraine or Gaza or Syria or Iraq or many troubled places in Africa and perhaps even the oceans around Australia. (And I’m a fool if I don’t think I do it too.) Places where lines have never succeeded but the blurriness of atmosphere has allowed communities to coexist in risky but lovely peace. Set down your lunar linemarkers l pray… and breath.

At six minutes and 14 seconds into the new year…

Sydney, New Year's Eve, Fireworks, 2013, Leichhardt, photo, time, new year

At six minutes and 14 seconds past midnight on January 1, 2013 I took this photo.

I didn’t know this at the time, but my phone did, on which I captured the image.

At the same moment a person in front raised their hand also to take a photo so that it appears they are balancing an explosion on their fist.

Here we all are, leaning forward toward the new year, counting down the solidity of year with the stuff of split-seconds.

We have so much information at our fingertips without trying, down to the unconscious moment of tapping for a photo… and yet faced with a new year we know nothing at all, not even today, not even tomorrow.

If the psalmist David was among the crowd on this balmy Sydney night, passing through the crowd with reflective gaze, he may have strolled back up the hill in his shorts, thongs and a Tigers t-shirt, typing as he walked:

“The life of mortals is like fireworks,
they flourish like a sparkle in the night.” *

And at the same time, sensing Someone eternal, walking alongside.

* Psalm 103:15-17 – The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,

 

 

Fireworks at Eiffel Tower Copyright Peter Hallett 2012

Paris celebrates Bastille Day 2012: photos

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Bastille Day seemed to us Australians something like a mix between Anzac Day and Australia Day with fewer barbecues and more tanks and fighter planes.

There were lots of crowds moving quietly to watch parades, flyovers and fireworks and just as many watching the passing crowds from the forward-facing chairs of cafes.

As we arrived at the fireworks, a short walk from where we are staying, it was somewhat like Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks only the iron of the bridge had morphed into a giant tower.

So conditioned am I by the Sydney event, when the fireworks were under way I kissed my wife and said Happy New Year! Or perhaps that was just an excuse… Enjoy our small photographic selection

Entree to Transit of Venus: partial lunar eclipse on tonight (June 4)

Moon
Partial lunar eclipse in Sydney, June 4.

With all the Tranist of Venus excitement which occurs from about 8am June 6 (and then not again until 2117) there’s been little mention of the partial lunar eclipse occuring tonight.

The moon is passing through the eath’s shadow and will be mot affected at 9.03pm.

It’s a beautiful clear night in Sydney so step outside and see our collective shadow on the moon and pray for this mysterious round ball we call home.

More details here: http://nightskyonline.info/?p=3676

Oh, and the Tranist of Venus is June 5,6 and occurs when Venus crosses the sun.

More details here: http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/transit-of-venus-6-june-2012/

Lockyer’s last Origin moments captured on Paper Camera

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Darren Lockyer played his last game of State of Origin rugby league as part of Queensland’s 34-24 defeat of NSW in front of a record-equaling crowd at Suncorp Stadium tonight.

The Australian, Queensland and Brisbane captain said before the game he wanted to finish with no regrets and he accomplished this with another superb performance personally and by his team.

There are few players who have carried themselves with as much control, dignity, fairness and talent as Darren Lockyer and so although I’m a NSW supporter, I could not for a moment begrudge his moment of well-deserved glory.

Tonight I also downloaded a new iPhone app called Paper Camera which has just been released and applies some funky and creative filters to your photos.

I was able to record (above) Lockyer’s lap of honour with some special effects. Enjoy.

And if we could all follow Lockyer’s ambition – to finish with no regrets – our lives would certainly be freer and lighter.

Chinese officials float over road and around the world

Utterance more often than not tackles relatively serious and reflective issues but can’t resist the hilarity that has surrounded China’s three levitating officials inspecting roads in Huili, south-west China.

The original badly doctored photo has spawned a creative range of imitations and even prompted a re-issuing of the original photos.

The three men will probably remain nameless forever which is a shame, I hope they can have a good laugh with the rest of us. And let’s hope the person who posed them floating over the new road is not locked up! Enjoy…

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